The Effects of Seasonal Wetland Drawdowns on Water Quality and Biodiversity

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Simmons, Ashley
Wetlands remain one of the most valuable ecosystems in the world. They play an integral role in maintaining the productivity and diversity of ecosystems, climate regulation, water quality enhancement, erosion and flood control, maintenance of streamflow, carbon storage, habitats for a wide array of species, and the welfare of humans. Wetlands worldwide are experiencing increased loss and degradation in response to human activities, holding concerns for the health of both humans and the environment. Therefore, efficient management is urgent and time-critical for wetland protection. An important management tool used are artificial drawdowns. Natural drawdowns do not occur in lentic wetlands. To replicate these fluctuations of water, wetland property managers will do artificial drawdowns on specific wetland sites at different times throughout the year to control water levels. The effects of seasonal drawdowns on the water quality and macroinvertebrate biodiversity of wetlands at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area were assessed by comparing six wetland units-three that experienced a fall drawdown and three that did not experience drawdowns-pre-drawdown and post-drawdown season, by tracking both the Water Quality Index (WQI) and biodiversity index over the course of eight weeks. Results revealed that drawdowns seem to have no significant effect on water quality and biodiversity. This research is useful in centralizing wetland property managers' understanding of the effects of artificial seasonal drawdown water management, as well as providing data on water quality and macroinvertebrate biodiversity.